FDA lifts import ban, clears path for GMO salmon to be sold in U.S.

Published: April 6, 2019

Category: GMO News

In March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifted a 2016 ban on imports of genetically modified salmon eggs to an Indiana facility, where producer AquaBounty will grow the salmon and sell it to consumers. AquAdvantage, an Atlantic salmon modified with DNA from other fish species, is the first genetically modified animal approved for human consumption.

Consumer, environmental, and Native American groups have mounted a legal challenge, trying to block sale of the salmon.

Plaintiffs are concerned about escapes and irrevocable contamination of wild salmon species. Consumers won’t recognize the new label—the unfamiliar term “bioengineered” is recommended instead of “genetic engineering”—and may unwittingly consume GMOs.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) recently reintroduced the Genetically Engineered Salmon Labeling Act, continuing her years-long fight to ensure that any salmon that is genetically engineered be clearly labeled. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

Friends of the Earth campaigner Dana Perls said, “More than 80 retailers have said they won’t sell this risky, unlabeled GMO fish and polls show consumers don’t want it.”

A month after the FDA lifted its import ban, Canada approved the commercial production of the GMO salmon in Prince Edward Island.

Sources: Associated Press; IntraFish Media; Friends of the Earth; Gizmodo

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